What is a shade sail ?

A shade sail is a modern solution designed to create shade and to protect you and your loved ones from the sun's harmful UV rays.

The modern shade sails were developed in Austrlia in the 1960s. Essentially a flexible membrane tensioned between several anchor points, the shade sail is loosely based on a ships sail, hence its name. Hung horizontally between fixing points, the shade sail is used to create a shaded area underneath the canvass rather than to catch the wind, the basic design concept of a ships sail. As a large canvas structures, a shade sail will be affected by any strong winds and the larger the area of the shade sail, the greater these forces will be. For this reason shade sails need to be installed under tension, with the curved sides of a shade sail specifically designed to allow tension to be applied along the perimeter.

Depending on the climate, a shade sail may be installed all year round (permanent) or removed during the winter monther months (semi-permanent). In countries such as Australia and south Africa, shade sails are generally installed permanently, but in many parts of Europe they are removed during the winter. This is for two pricipal reasons. Firstly in case of snow. If snow accumulates on the shade sail then thee weight of the snow can damage the shade sail or the fixings. The second reason is sunlight. A shade sail is very good at blocking sunlight which in the summer is very desirable. In colder climates, however, people generally want as much sunlight as possible during the winter months and many people take down the sail for the winter to allow as much light as possible to enter their garden.

Shade sails are widespread in both residential and commercial environments. They are extensively used in shade childrens play area, to provide shade in carparks, to cover swimming pools and anywhere else where protection from the sun is needed. As well as creating shade, Australian shade sail has been specifically designed to give the maximum protection from the sun's dangerous UV. which we now know is responsible for causing most sunburn and is also the major factor affecting the risk of skin cancer.
In mediterranean countries, sailors have been hanging their boat sails between masts (and other handy fixing points) for thousands of years to escape from direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. This unplanned used of sails probably dates from the earliest origins of sail boats.

Historical docements attest to the first organised use of boat sails to create shade dating from the time of the Roman empire although anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that the Greeks also frequetly used their sails for this purpose hundreds of years before the Romans documented their use.

According to the Roman documents, boat sails were commandeered regularly for festivals and other large gathering of people when they were hung above communla area. Festivals at the Colosseum in Rome often used boat sails suspended above the crowds to create shade in the hottest parts of the day.

Boat sails were ideal for creating shade in these times. They were generally amongst the largest pieces of fabric that would have been available and for any sea faring nation, they would have been readily on hand.
The reinvention of the shade sail into its modern form began in Australia in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when HDPE fabric was invented by Coolaroo’s parent company, Gale Pacific. This new fabric was the first to block the suns’s harmful UV and Gale Pacific remain the worlds leading manufacturer to this day. Over the years the fabric has evolved and improved and thanks to Coolaroo, it is believed that shade sails are now more numerous in Australia than kangaroos!

Shade sails have traditionalls been most popular in hot, dry countries. As awareness of the dangers of over exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays has become more accepted, customers living in even less hot climates realise that having protection from the sun, especially during the hottest times of the day, is becomming essential.
For many decades our shade sails have been offering customers proven protection from the sun harmful UV ray. Our shade sails allow you enjoy spending time relaxing outdoors, for as many hours as you like. In Australia, shade sails are seen as such an important defense against the sun that in some states they are mandatory in some locations including schools and kindergartens.

Shade sails are a less expensive shade solution when compared to more solid structures such as gazebos and pergolas. Once installed, our shade sails do not require maintenance other than occasionally cleaning and checking that they are tensioned correctly. As long as this is done, then a shade sail is a very durable product and will provide you with long lasting protection against the suns harmful UV rays.
Unique amongst shade solutions, the shade sail was specifically created to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. The product was also developed to encourage people to shelter beneath the canopy and this shade sails were made using knitted HDPE strands so that air could pass through the fabric. This has two significant advatages.
  • Firstly as hot air rises, and hot air trapped beneath the canopy could escape upwards ensure that theose sheltering below the canopy are a cool as possible.which allows air to pass through the sail, ensuring that hot air is not trapped underneath the canopy and can escape upwards through the fabric.
  • The fabric allows any breezes to pass through, benfitting those below.

The knitted fabric of our shade sails means that they are not waterproof. When installed at an angle, however, in practice most rain water will flow off of the sides. Waterproof shade sails are now also available, but these trap hot air beneath the canopy on the hottest days creating a less inviting environment when you need to shield yourself the most. Tests have shown that the shade beneath a waterproof shade sail can be up to 5 degrees warmer than a traditional, knitted shade sail.
We offer customers shade sails from market leading Australian manufacturers. Our shade sails will give you long lasting UV which has been proven over many decades in Australia.

To order your shade sail, please select the required size and colour for your needs then use the shopping cart to proceed to the paypal secure payment system. Here you can complete your order using any bank card or by using a paypal account if you have one. Once your order has been complete we will dispatch your shade sail within 2 working days.


The Shade Sail Boutique Europe
Brendan Collis
shade-sail-boutique@ec-suisse.com
+41 76 285 2362 / +44 7925 812 633

Head Office
Vy D'echallens 6
1040 Villars Le Terroir
Suisse